Tag Archives: apocalypse

Book Review:”The Death Doll” by Brian P White

Summary

As the zombie apocalypse descends upon the United States, a truck appears with scavengers rescuing survivors while dispatching the undead. But when these survivors arrive at their new home, nothing is quite as it seems. With the end times near, how will a group of survivors so different from one another in ideologies, backgrounds, and desires band together to make a new way? Or will pride, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, sloth and wrath be the downfall of any chance at a new society?

The standard apocalypse and Book of Revelations tropes get upgraded with zombies, more diversity, three dimensional characters, the beauty of redemption, and the impacts of American racism and social prejudices in a post-apocalyptic scenario. Want to throw America under a magnifying glass? “The Death Doll” is not a zombie novel to miss.

Overall Response (Caution: accidental mild spoilers)

I mentioned on Twitter that this is my favorite zombie book of all time. I’m saying this as a former resident of Pittsburgh that relished in Halloween every year because it meant celebrating Pittsburgh’s history as one of the cities where zombie mania began. This meant that I saw “Night Of The Living Dead! The Musical!” and did zombie themed weekend adventures around the city. I loved World War Z and I’ve loved every unique spin on zombies out there. Nothing compares to this book, and it has nothing to do with the zombies.

In “The Death Doll”, Brian P. White takes a hard look at various subgroups within the United States and places the reader inside representative characters’ heads. As described in a thoughtful disclaimer at the beginning of the book, this does include the use of bigoted language to demonstrate bigoted characters. If you would prefer to not read a book with swearing and bigoted language for demonstrative purposes, then this is not a book for you. The author does a great job of giving the reader warning ahead of time at the front of the book.

Head hopping is hard. In this book it felt natural. I never had to guess the character currently holding the point of view, and the writing style adapts to each character’s personality traits. Head hopping can only work when it is done well, and in my opinion “The Death Doll” nailed it.

I mentioned that racism and social prejudices are put on full display. Let me be blunt: no character is left flawless and racism is sometimes the base layer expectation. Every character reveals their true nature and grows when given the opportunity to incorporate new information into their world views. The characters that don’t? These are the antagonists because during a zombie apocalypse the zombies aren’t your biggest problem: other humans are. Even with conflict resolutions, the story is written without the white savior trope playing out. In fact, the book turns that trope on its head and gives it the finger in a way that does not feel forced, rather, as a reader, it seems the most competent characters are recognized for their merit.

I love that the characters make choices in actions that have consequences they must live (or die) with. Small choices around the placement of objects are brought back to have huge consequences with constantly logical chains of events (there’s a pun there you’ll only catch if you read the book).

While I do not identify as Christian, that doesn’t mean I don’t love when the Bible is used as a story telling aid for readers with high attention to detail. This book is full of biblical references that add to the symbolism and foreshadowing already present. These references are extensive enough that I would recommend “The Death Doll” for Christian book clubs that really want to delve deep into the teachings brought up and don’t mind the other details previously mentioned. I have to admit, some references are too good, bringing on laughter or groans at the incredible puns that turn into legitimate literary devices. Remember that high school friend of mine that’s a church leader? This book 100% got recommended to him.

Saving the best for last, my absolute favorite aspect of this story may be the story arc of the Death Doll herself, but, to avoid spoilers, readers will have to read the book to find out why.

LGBTQA

While there is no overt representation of the LGBTQA community, this does not impact my rating of this book because there’s an overwhelming message of love and inclusiveness.

Grammar+

Any errors fell within the 1/10,000 words industry standard.

Twilight Zone Moment

There were 2 Twilight Zone Moments:

  1. How do cell phones work in a post-zombie apocalypse world? This is nit picking and is unlikely to bother the average reader. My brain went into a lot of unnecessary technical details.
  2. CPR/AED scene – There is one CPR/AED scene that I struggled with as a healthcare worker, but this could be fixed by characters reminding each other of modifications to the CPR procedure to reduce infection risk.

More About The Author

You can buy the book here and other online book retailers such as Barnes & Noble and BookBub. To learn more about the author, you can follow Brian P. White on Twitter and through his website here.

Lo Is Domestic AF: Passive Aggressive Smashed Blueberry Lemon Scones

Smashed Blueberry Lemon Scones with a pot of Whittard's Chelsea Garden White Tea

Recipe Inspiration

There is a lot to unpack here and domesticity is something that generally comes with a focus on the family, right?

Today, we’re making gluten free dairy free Smashed Blueberry Lemon Scones.

The “passive aggressive” got added in there because a lot is happening in the United States right now. There are a couple wrong turns with this recipe. I’ll admit that it’s an invention based on this one I created in a way similar to that story about the Ship of Theseus.

All of what’s happening right now in the United States though? That’s where I got distracted today. There’s a lot. I’m trying to hold back because my words here aren’t the ones you should be listening to. Listen to the disenfranchised that are trying to make their voices heard.

Screen grab of https://slate.com/ (10:15PM MT) News & Politics Section

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ingredients and Supplies

If you’re going to make this recipe with me, you’re going to need to gather some ingredients – no specific brand should be necessary:

  • Frozen Blueberries (Costco sells big bags)
  • Lemon Juice (There’s a theme here)
  • Cup for Cup Gluten Free Baking Flour (I use Namaste from Costco)
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Stevia In The Raw or equivalent (I’m not sponsored, but I might have a Costco problem)
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Almond Milk (Okay, we’re calling it a Costco solution)
  • Coconut Oil (Costco non-polar solvent)
  • 1 Egg
  • Vanilla Extract

Supplies To Grab:

  • 1 Large Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Medium Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Small Mixing Bowl
  • 1 9″ Round For Your Great Idea
  • 1 18-muffin baking tin
  • Muffin tin liners
  • Whisks
  • Measuring cups / Kitchen Scale
  • Measuring spoons

While you look for those, I’m letting Jacob takes over. [You will continue to see Jacob’s thoughts in italics]

It’s weird how normal everything seems here, in Montana. I worry about the future of the United States and I have absolutely no idea of what that means to me, to us, here. The steady increase in violence from our government is terrifying. I wonder when it will reach here (or if, but I wonder if that’s too hopeful). But we’re in a low population density state. I can’t yet decide if I’m glad or disappointed that everything that’s going on is so far away.

Namaste flour blend, wet and dry ingredients, bowls, whisk, masher, baking supplies, etc.

If you’re following along, then you may have noticed that we have liquid ingredients and dry ingredients. I bet you can guess what I’m about to do next.

For your dry ingredients combine the following:

  • 2 cups (0.47 l) of the gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 tbsp (75 g) stevia in the raw (or whichever baking stevia)

I whisk those together until evenly distributed and get distracted again.I want the protesters to return home safe and alive at the end of this storm. Refocus. Regroup.We have liquid ingredients too. Whisk together almond milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and egg.

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) almond milk

You may see something that looks a little like curdling. It’s almond milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract and egg. Don’t freak out. Keep calm and carry on, etc.

Measure out 1/2 cup (120 mL) of coconut oil (soft and pliable, not hard), then look everywhere for your pastry cutter. Once you find it, cut the coconut oil into your blended flour mixture until homogeneously incorporated. While I’m doing that, I definitely got distracted again.

I’m Distracted Again.

I keep reading about the violence and the destruction of these places I know and am from.

As a Virginian and a former resident of the city of Richmond, I’m okay with the statues put up by the Daughters of the Confederacy being toppled. Make sure to check out everything else they’ve funded there too in their efforts to glorify the former capital. I hear protesters succeeded in getting the major to agree to remove that obelisk in Birmingham.

Statues and museums can be replaced by new, better statues and museums that discuss the same history. Maybe these new ones won’t be meant to remind an entire portion of the population that white people still have power in the South.

I don’t consider those protesters violent.

They are not taking life, and they are not injuring anyone.

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=3181002298674653&set=a.111248442316736
This pretty much sums up my some of my opinions.

Wait, what are those protesters doing?

They’re calling for the destruction of the property of a racist group of mental troglodyte white women that have been financially linked to the KKK and of other monuments to the glorification of the Antebellum Era. They’re destroying the property of the same people that ensured my parents had to explain that it was called “Martin Luther King Jr. Day”, not “Jackson Lee Day”. They’re destroying the property of the same people that earned property/money through slave labor, then retained it after the Civil War. As far as I can tell, that means that any protester descended from a slave is therefore destroying property that is theirs by inheritance.

If they succeed, they will be making the South a place I want to move home to.

Just. Saying.

We’re Making Scones, Right?

We slowly pour and cut in the liquid ingredients until a homogenous dough is formed. Now measure out heaping cups of frozen blueberries.

This is when I read multiple stories about the police initiating violence with unarmed peaceful protesters. I read about the police killing David McAtee – a man who was well known for feeding them for free. I get distracted by the Rose Garden speech and get hit by nausea. I am reminded of how the police initiated violence against Virginia State Delegate Lee Carter of the 50th District during a peaceful protest. My friends and family (and their businesses) are right there, and I am so far away. I think of my friends that I worry about every day because Virginia police pull them over regularly for driving while black.

I miss the days when it felt like, over time, the world was becoming a better place.

Scones. Focus.

Using a wooden spoon smash the blueberries in as I gently mixed them into the scone dough.

I tried not to destroy them, but during my distraction the blueberries melted. I try to form them.

Next I have my round pan ready to form my scones. Supposedly, I do this by transferring everything to the pan, then cutting it with a knife after it has sat in the freezer for a bit.

Baking The Scones

I prepare the pan by cutting out parchment.

I put the pan in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to help it firm up.

I give up on the first idea after transferring all the dough into the pan. I have no idea how I’m going to separate it with a knife. I try, and I fail. Then I realize that I forgot to preheat the oven.

The blueberries are melting more – they are weaker than before – the thin blue wall around their exterior is failing them.

I re-smash the blueberries and scone dough into a muffin pan with muffin liners. They’re still scones – they’re not round scones or nice looking scones.

They’re downright disaster scones for a downright disaster of a day, a week, a month, a year?

They bake at 400 F (204 C) until golden brown. This was about 25 minutes in a gas oven (non-convection setting).

Glazing The Scones

We finish these off with a lemon glaze. 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and accidentally pour the remainder of your bag of powdered sugar into the bowl because… oops.

Stir until no clumps remain.

Stir that up

I served them up with Whittard’s Chelsea Garden tea. This is one of my favorite teas and comforts me because I tend to prefer floral and citrus flavors.

What would I do differently next time?

Use canned coconut cream instead of coconut oil.

To lighten the mood Jacob has a joke to share:

What’s the difference between a hippo and a zippo? One’s really heavy, and the other is a little lighter.

Verdict? At least the scones and tea taste good. Next time: gluten free dairy free pesto risotto with black caviar. Jacob and I will leave you with a teaser of our next dish, warm wishes, and thoughts.

Be compassionate. Be safe. I support you and I hear you. Black Lives Matter.

FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK

ALL LIVES DON’T MATTER UNTIL THE LIVES OF THOSE THAT FEEL THEIR LIVES ARE AT RISK AT ALL TIMES BY BEING ALIVE IN THIS COUNTRY MATTER.

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

What did you think of this installment of Lo Is Domestic AF? Are you planning to try out this scone disaster and improve upon it? If you do, I hope you don’t get as distracted. If you would like to see more of these, please comment below or like this post.